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We recently had the opportunity to interview the VP of ViaBTC Group, Eddie Jiang. ViaBTC Group owns popular crypto exchange CoinEx and ViaBTC Pool. In this interview Eddie discusses being the first exchange to use BCH as the base currency, ViaBTC Pool and integrating with CoinEx, new features and ambassador program, and competing with other exchanges like Binance and Huobi. Please enjoy the interview below.
How come you decided to open up CoinEx to other cryptos other than just BCH?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx is the world’s first exchange to implement Bitcoin Cash as a base currency. At that time, it was evident that there was a demand for BCH trading markets, and we are the first to explore this opportunity. It also shows our determination to support the BCH’s development.
As CoinEx is developing, our goal becomes bigger and we are aiming at the global market. We need to constantly improve our product diversification to meet the different needs of more users, so we open up to other cryptos. In the past six months, we have listed more than 50 new tokens. Up to now, we have listed 129 cryptos and 313 markets. Besides, in addition to spot trading, CoinEx also supports perpetual contract and other derivatives trading.
How does CoinEx integrate with the ViaBTC Pool?
Eddie Jiang: ViaBTC Group announced a strategic upgrade, which included a new organizational structure, product innovations and service improvements, on 30 May.
As part of the change, the Group has established three dedicated business units (BU): the financial services BU, consisting of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange; the infrastructure services BU, including ViaWallet and Blockchain Explorer; and the ecological development BU, focusing on the research and development of public chain technology and the construction of the ecology.
After halving, the combination of mining and finance will become closer and closer. Investing in mining machines is like buying a Bitcoin option. Miners need more flexible financial products to maintain and increase the value of assets, or hedging services. Based on this judgment, the operations of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange will be integrated in the future to realize the financial empowerment of the mining pool to meet the diverse financial needs of miners.
Features of this integrated product upgrade can be summarized as: “ The mining pool is the wallet, and the wallet is the transaction.” ViaBTC is the world first mining pool that has a wallet embedded in the mining pool account. Users do not need to transfer the mined coins, and can realize the function of coin exchange within the wallet. For example, they can directly convert the mined coins into USDT to pay electricity bill. What’s more, users can store, deposit and withdraw their revenue, and transfer assets to CoinEx at any time without charge, as well as complete other operations on the exchange, such as purchasing wealth management products for asset preservation and appreciation. In addition, we also provide hedging services. All of the above functions can be completed in one stop in the mining pool, without the need to transfer assets between different platforms.
The exchange empowers the mining pool, and the mining pool will further bring more traffic and resources to the exchange. The two complement each other and development coordinately.
CoinEx has recently added many new features. Can you talk about what new updates were made to the platform and why you made them?
Eddie Jiang: We have always attached great importance to the development of overseas markets since our establishment, and one of our major goals this year is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets.
To realize this and to meet the needs of more users worldwide, CoinEx has been continuously optimizing and upgrading its operating strategies, products and services. Our product diversifications are constantly improving. As I said before, we have launched leverage trading, perpetual contract trading, and wealth management products in addition to just spot trading. However, we don’t ignore the importance of spot trading. More mainstream, popular, and high-quality tokens have been listed, and up to now, there are 129 tokens and 313 trading pairs on CoinEx.
During the epidemic, we have never slowed down our development. Lacking of the OTC service has always been a shortage for CoinEx. In March, we partner with Simplex to integrate the first fiat onramp to our platform. People now can buy crypto with their credit cards, which lowers the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. Moreover, we announced global strategic partnership with Matrixport to provide people with large amount of fiat to crypto needs the OTC service. These newly launched services also help to attract more users.
At the same time, CoinEx has been launched in Arabic, Italian, English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and other 16 languages. Earlier we also carried out product upgrades, making the UI and function sections clearer.
In terms of operations, we launched an upgraded CoinEx Ambassador program in March. To best utilize each ambassador’s personal strengths, there are four categories of CoinEx Ambassador with different responsibilities, namely Referral Ambassador, Marketing Ambassador, Operation Ambassador, and Business Ambassador, which will expand our brand’s exposure and help CoinEx grow into a more international exchange platform.
From March until now CoinEx has seen a 100% increase in user registrations. Why is that and are you able to see where they are coming from?
Eddie Jiang: Because of the efforts mentioned above, in 2020, we’ve seen an exponential increase in activity in just the past few months alone. In this year alone, CoinEx’s daily registered users increased by 100%. These new users mainly come from markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and more.
Interestingly, we saw an uptick in traffic from the Middle East in March. User growth in Southeast Asia also picked up significantly, newly registered users increased by 133.6% in April.
With Binance, BitMex, Huobi, Bybit, and Deribit, controlling most of the crypto futures and options markets, where do you see CoinEx fitting in? How do you plan to capture market share from these large exchanges?
Eddie Jiang: We won’t compete with others. We focus on ourselves to improve products and our goal is to be better than yesterday.
Our pace is solid and steady, instead of focusing on temporary heat and flow. We have always attached great importance of spot trading, and we are committed to be responsible for users’ investment. We have set up CoinEx Institution, which is dedicated on project research. A listing committee consist of core team members review and vote on projects recommended by the CoinEx Institution. In this way, fraud projects are avoided as much as possible.
Besides, we will focus on niche areas with great potential. For example, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. CoinEx can serve users in those countries well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade, and will pay more efforts on refined operations in different countries.
Moreover, CoinEx has a very complete ecosystem. Financial services, infrastructure, and ecological development, the three business units complement each other. The infrastructure BU is our cornerstone and is positioned as a defensive product; the financial service BU is a cash cow and is positioned as an aggressive product; the ecological development BU focuses on the public chain ecology and is the future infrastructure.
What is the geographical breakdown of the CoinEx userbase?
Eddie Jiang: The current proportion of CoinEx’s overseas users has reached 80% of the total registered users, and mainly in Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East and South Korea.
Do you have plans to focus on any certain jurisdictions? How will you do that?
Eddie Jiang: When we evaluate regions, two things matter: policy and potential.
Whether an exchange’s business expansion in a region is smooth or not largely depends on the region’s policies. If the region is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency or has repeated attitudes, there will be more difficulties and the cost will be much higher.
For a region’s development potential, we need to think about the demand and market development status. South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions are all areas with good potential for cryptocurrency development. Compared with Europe and America, policy risks in these countries are lower, and the supervision mechanism is relatively complete. The public has a high degree of awareness of cryptocurrencies. Besides, some regions or countries have inflation problems due to political and economic reasons.
CoinEx will continue to focus on the Middle East and South Asia, which are relatively niche. India has just lifted ban on cryptocurrency trading this year, and there are many cryptocurrency investors in Indian. CoinEx can serve them well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade. More people in the Middle East are interested cryptos, especially in countries that are subject to economic sanctions or high inflation. For those people, cryptocurrencies are one of the best choices for asset preservation.
Since the CoinEx Ambassador program launched in March, it has been almost three months. We are conducting the second round of ambassador recruitment. This time, we will use the power of ambassadors to expand our recruitment coverage and strive to attract more crypto enthusiasts from all over the world to grow together with CoinEx. Moreover, we will launch the National Expansion plan and leverage on the CoinEx and ViaBTC mining pool resources, to further explore the Russian market. At the market level, we will make more PR efforts in local markets, and start refined operations.
What is CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx Chain is a public chain built on the Tendermint consensus protocol and the Cosmos SDK. It consists of three dedicated public chains parallel to each other. Among these three chains, CoinEx DEX meets the most basic needs of DeFi for token issuance, transfer, and transactions. The Smart Chain is designed to meet the needs of complex financial scenarios and delivers programmable cash. The Privacy Chain facilitates privacy and security.
On November 11, 2019, we took the lead in launching the Mainnet of CoinEx DEX. CoinEx DEX is the world’s first public chain dedicated to decentralized transactions. Users can easily manage their digital assets on it.
CoinEx DEX can fully satisfy the following conditions: users have private keys at their own disposal; transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission; the community governance and operation is decentralized, similar to EOS, and validators are introduced to the community ecosystem construction and governance. There are currently 41 validators.
It also has extreme performance. TPS reaches as high as 10,000 and transactions are confirmed within seconds. The transaction fee, 0.0001 US dollars for each transaction, is negligible.
Third, it’s simple and easy to use. The new operation interface design helps beginners get started quickly; with the one-click token issuing module, users only need to fill in a few items to issue tokens; the built-in automated market-making module guarantees liquidity.
How will CoinEx DEX improve the decentralized exchange space that has been unable to gain much adoption?
Eddie Jiang: There are many challenges and difficulties facing centralized exchanges. The first difficulty is security. Security is a huge concern for CEXs. Over the last 10 years, hackers have stolen more than $1.5 billion from centralized exchanges. In fact, research groups estimate that hackers stole somewhere between $950 Million and $1 Billion from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone. There were also incidents of coin thefts in other exchanges in 2019. Many exchanges, such as Mt. Gox, Youbit, were forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down as a result of hacks.
The second is high management costs. Centralized exchanges need to list a large number of cryptocurrencies and each of them have different trading pairs. That entails huge efforts in development and maintenance and, thus, high management costs.
The last is global policies. Cryptocurrency is faced with different regulatory policies in different countries. Every time a centralized exchange enters a country, it needs to adapt itself to local regulatory policies for compliance. This is a holdback for the exchange’s rapid market expansion globally. Such adaptation will also bring a huge learning cost for the exchange team.
Obviously, these problems can be well solved by DEX. CoinEx DEX is a true DEX with full open source and full community governance, as well as without depending on official nodes, websites, wallets, etc. On DEX, users are able to in charge of their own private keys and assets all by themselves. Their assets are more safe and secure. Transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; and the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission. What’s more, CoinEx DEX provides a great and convenient user experience.
How will CoinEx Chain and DEX help the crypto industry as a whole?
Eddie Jiang: The public chain is the cornerstone of the blockchain industry. CoinEx Chain has the parallelism of multiple dedicated public chains, each of which performs its own functions, by cross-chaining for both high performance and flexibility.
CoinEx Chain is committed to building the next generation of blockchain financial infrastructure. It is a more complete ecosystem built around the DEX public chain. The DEX public chain is a dedicated public chain developed specifically for token issuance and trading and the biggest improvement on trading speed, so it only supports the necessary functions, not smart contracts.
But smart contracts are the foundation for building more complex financial applications. Outside the DEX public chain, CoinEx Chain also includes a Smart Chain that supports smart contracts.
Moreover, as privacy issues on the current blockchain have been criticized, it is one of the core tasks of CoinEx Chain to safeguard users’ privacy. Similar to the Smart Chain, the Privacy Chain specifically supports transaction privacy protection. With cross-chain circulation, it can improve the privacy characteristic of the entire CoinEx Chain ecosystem.
Nowadays, 1.7 million people in the world have no bank accounts; however, among them, two thirds are smartphone users with huge demands for financial services. The public chain will empower DeFi applications’ development and popularization, not only help more companies to seize the huge market opportunity, but also to bring lasting transformations and improvements in people’s lives.
With so many crypto exchanges, what is the future outlook of CoinEx when it comes to the crypto exchange space?
Eddie Jiang: It has been nearly 3 years since CoinEx has been launched, but it’s quite young for an entrepreneurial team. We have seen too many projects’ failures due to governance issues. CoinEx has a very elite team with high technical and management capabilities. In terms of business, CoinEx has gradually developed with diversified business and a complete ecosystem. It’s clear that the market will still grow very fast in the future, and the market size is still very large. We will continue to improve our products, put more efforts in marketing and operations, as well as look for more high-quality projects, to increase the number of users and transactions on the platform. Lay a solid foundation, and I’m sure the time will come for us to shine.
What updates is the CoinEx team most excited for?
Eddie Jiang: We are very excited about the National Expansion Plan which will be launched later this year. It is an important part in CoinEx’s globalization strategy. We will actively explore some new markets while consolidate the original ones. CoinEx will set aside 10 million US dollars to set up a “Pioneer Fund” to support this plan. This fund will be used to support local cryptocurrency projects and promote the development of the local cryptocurrency communities through investment or cooperation. Our goal this year is to invest in projects and communities that are conducive to expanding the CoinEx ecosystem in countries with high development potential.
Click HERE to register on CoinEx
Dev meeting? Would say so, yes The people are still exhausted from the payment ID meeting :) Guess we could ping some people vtnerd, moneromooo, hyc, gingeropolous, TheCharlatan, sarang, suraeNoether, jtgrassie Anyone up for a meeting? Yep I'm here Here o/ Perhaps we should just start and people will eventually hop in? oof sorry guys, I'm working on the new FFS and I forgot all about this. Got a couple of new volunteers. This literally might be able to launch tomorrow. I know that. It's called "flow" :) I could run if you're out of time? go for it dEBRUYNE you guys are going to like this new FFS. We're like 99% done. Hi rehrar: someone else do the milestone thing already? All right, jtgrassie, perhaps you'd to start w/ briefly describing your most recent PR? https://github.com/monero-project/monero/pull/5091 oneiric, xiphon did everything like....everything As far as I can see, it allows the user to push his transaction over I2P, thereby masking the origin IP of the sendeuser great And it hooks into vtnerd's PR right? Sure. It basically just builds on vtnerds Tor stuff. sorry dEBRUYNE Really not much added. I have it running and tested. From the perspective of the user, what needs to be configured exactly? Nice Assuming the PR is included in the release binaries I'm using knacccs i2p-zero duirng testing but will of course work with any i2p setup sorry dEBRUYNE <= Np Looks a little like dams breaking, now that we have some dark clouds over Kovri and people take matters into their own hands ... User needs to run i2p, expose a socks service and and inbound tunnel. Basically same as Tor Okay, so should be reasonable as long as we write proper documentation for it (e.g. an elaborate guide) rbrunner, yes, knaccc credit for jumping on i2p-zero really dEBRUYNE: documentation monero side is kindof done. i2p side is very much implementation specific. I suppose we could write some guides for the most popular implementations? e.g. i2p-zero aims to be zero conf, but i2pd or Kovri would be differnet. I see, great vtnerd___: Do you want to add anything? could amend the current kovri guide for monero use from --exclusive-peer to the new proxy support Now I have i2p-zero running and tested with the #5091, I plan to jump back over to helping knaccc on getting that polished. I added support for socks proxy in the basic wallets ^ excellent Yes vtnerd___ I havent tested it yet but looks sweet. So connections to `monerod` over Toi2p are possible within wallet cli and wallet rpc Awesome This also implies auth+encryption even if ssl is not in use (when using an onion or i2p address) All right moneromooo: are you here? If so, could you perhaps share what you've been working on? I am. I revived the SSL PR, more stuff on multi sender txes, an implementation of ArticMine's new block size algorithm. I presume a multi sender tx works similar to multisig insofar as the senders have to exchange data before the transaction can be performed right? Yes. There are 2 SSL PRs. What's the diff? Theoretically this would also allow the sender to provide an output right? Which would be kind of similar to Bitcoin's P2EP The second one adds some things like selecting a cert by fingerprint. Yes. (for the first sentence) All right, awesome For anyone reading, this breaks the assumption of the inputs belonging to a single sender, which makes analysis more difficult Nice side-effect. Much work coming for the various wallets to support that rbrunner: Anything you'd like to share in the meeting btw? Yes, just a little info I have started to seriously investigate what it would mean to integrate Monero into OpenBazaar I have already talked with 2 of their devs, was very interesting In maybe 2 or 3 weeks I intend to write a report Too early to tell much more :) Soon^tm I guess :) Yep Currently wrestling with Go debugging whole new world moneromooo: Has pony recently shared any insights regarding the upcoming 0.14 release btw? No. All right I would love to see the tor & i2p PR's merged sooner rather than later so we can get more testing done. ^ +1 Isn't that famous early code freeze already on the horizon? fluffypony, luigi1111 ^ I suppose I could provide a little update regarding the GUI btw As always, lots of bug fixes and improvements :-P selsta has recently added a feature to support multi accounts dsc_ has revamped the wizard and will now start working on implementing the different modes and a white theme dsc_ is working fulltime on the GUI already? yes :) dsc_ is bae In light of the recent payment ID discussion, we've also, by default, disabled the option to add a payment ID unless the user explicitely activates the option on the settings page rehrar ^ nice I spoke about this yesterday at the coffee chat, this is not a good decision. How does it handle integrated addresses? The same way? rehrar ? For the next many months, we are still stuck with PAyment IDs in the ecosystem. Making it harder for people to access them will make Monero suck so hard to use for the average person for many months. i agree with rehrar Remove the option of Payment IDs when we remove Payment IDs rehrar: The new GUI release won't be live until probably mid march though Which is a few weeks in advance of the scheduled protocol upgrade Payment ID removal comes in October right, but Payment IDs are not removed in March Did we not have loose consensus on removing the old, unencrypted payment IDs in march? they are removed in October We had discussed a deprecation in March and a ban in October ok, then if we are going to do that, we have to commit to it and contact the exchanges like Binance that use them and get rid of them in the next few months (of unencrypted) Binance is huge, and if they still use them, then people will be very upset that they can't deposit or use Payment IDs easily I'm just speaking from a UX perspective. I thought it was unencrypted in April and possibly encrypted in October Yes I do agree Timeline and notes: https://github.com/monero-project/meta/issues/299 impossible to remove them for march, many exchanges still use them We can defer it to the 0.15 release if needed Well, that wasn't the impression for them log that I just read today This was all discussed in the earlier meeting linked above We have to force the ecosystem off of Payment IDs before we remove them from the UI, is all I'm saying Remove != make difficult to use ... or make them more difficult there, right? ping sgp_ sarang, I understand, and I agreed with you during that meeting. But then I started thinking of it as a UX person, which I am. And that huge massive problem leapt out at me i think making them difficult to generate is a good idea but making them difficult to consume and use is a bad idea well, maybe not a good idea, but a better idea ^ If we defer the decision to depriciate long payment IDs to october, won't we have the same issue then? The UI can gave an expandable payment ID field like MyMonero and we can still call it deprecated It is foolhardy to remove an option that the ecosystem uses. So I suggest we keep the Payment ID in the UI until October when they are completely banned. no dEBRYUNE, because they will be banned via consensus sgp_ imo it may be a misdirection of dev resources to add that since things are proceeding in the short term rather than long term but this is a relatively minor point Nothing matters til exchanges change All right The issue is that consensus will still have them in April, and exchanges won't upgrade because they are still allowed. Thus they must still be in the UI. endogenic these changes are already merged in the GUI to hide it like you do ok But when they are banned, exchanges are forced to upgrade or stop using Monero, so we can remove them safely because they won't be in use rehrar: that's a strong assumption sarang that they will upgrade? yes if they don't, then they can't use Monero If exchanges require pid, users need a way to set a pid. Making it hard for the user in the interim is just going to be a nightmare. we have decided to take our "stand" in October A way that is not too hard, then To be clear, we still intend to deprecate long encrypted payment IDs in April right? But no enforcement until October the term "deprecated" doesn't mean much if it's still allowed, and used in popular places yes, as far as I understand it jtgrassie, exactly True I suppose dEBRUYNE: we need to be more specific when talking about deprecation the person who suffers is the user There are two proposals for GUI deprecation: 1. Hide it in the send screen with a simple option to expand (currently merged iirc) 2. Hide it completely in the send screen unless users enable the field in advanced settings (PR'd but not merged yet iirc) What are the arguments for 2? Both are poor options, but 1 is better than 2 by a long shot Well the people who need to be made to "suffer" are the exchanges. And I don't see a way to make exchanges "suffer" other than by having their suffering customers complain to them constantly that they need to update. ^ CLI has something similar where users need to set a manual payment ID transfer mode. Not sure if it's merged yet the way to make the exchanges suffer is when we ban PIDs. They either upgrade or don't use Monero. exact;y Agree with rerahr here have exchanges been provided with clear, practical, sufficient technical upgrade plans for supporting what they're doing with PIDs but with subaddrs? Both are poor options, but 1 is better than 2 by a long shot <= I wouldn't call 1. a poor option. Have you actually checked how it looks? Because it states "Payment ID" and a user has to click on the + to expand the field endogenic: yes the email when out. Blog post coming soon, but contains the same info as the email also the exhcnages' users are often using wallets that don't support subaddresses ok great as well, it should be noted that the timeline for exchanges to upgrade is September, not October when the fork is. Which wallets are that? Rehrar: I don't see option 1. causing any issues/confusion i guess it doesnt matter too much if withdrawing as a personal user the main address should suffice Because September is when the new versions will be coming out without PIDs in the UI If there's opposition to 2, 1 is fine. We can still call it deprecated which is the optics we need anyway exchange users are often just using other exchanges lol. No wallets involved. dsc_ dEBRUYNE, ok, I trust you guys here then rbrunner: i was thinking mymonero last i heard Ok pigeons: rbrunner yes receiving on subaddresses won't be supported yet sending to them has been possible though and yes as learnandlurkin says often they withdraw to other systems like exhcnages that also dont yet support subaddresses I really can't come up with any good argument for 2. right now endogenic: seems not much of an issue then. Exchanges will typically support withdrawals to both subaddresses and plain addresses (especially if we are going to force them to use subaddresses) For deposits, MyMonero works properly if the user sends to a subaddress Actually the second solution was already merged: https://github.com/monero-project/monero-gui/pull/1866 Maybe not enough eyes watching :) The important thing is to have done something to justify having a big "DEPRECATED IN APRIL" stamp on PIDs to spook exchanges in the interim This was for solution 1: https://github.com/monero-project/monero-gui/pull/1855 The Monero Community Workgroup will start making noise everywhere we can to exchanges, and everywhere else that will listen. Try to get on those garbage news sites also. So everyone knows that deprecated in April, and banned in September Hey, for solution 1, write "Payment ID (optional, deprecated)" or similar there rbrunner: noted rehrar: probably wait until the blog post, but it should only be a few days Maybe a Reddit sticky post would be useful? With the blog post If people are over freaking out about the hashrate or terabyte blockchain :) sigh Any questions for the MRL side? Is someone checking ArticMine's block size changes for weird behaviour in some cases etc ? How would such testing work? Private blockchain?